Monday, February 6, 2023

Fourth edition of open innovation event MaterialNEXT launched

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Jamshedpur, Nov 26: Tata Steel, today, launched the fourth edition of MaterialNEXT, the Company’s flagship open innovation event in the emerging materials domain. The focal theme for this edition is ‘Materials to Wonder’ with an objective to crowdsource ideas around emerging materials and their unique applications.

 Four major materials/technology subject areas have been introduced with the launch of MaterialNEXT 4.0 – Applied Nanomaterials, Novel Composites, Emerging Construction Materials, and Energy Materials. Within each of these four theme areas, there are numerous application-related issues that have been defined, making it easier for participating teams to start registering ideas. The programme will entail two parallel tracks – the ‘Research Track’ will concentrate on concepts from major academic institutions and research facilities across India; and the ‘Start-up’ track will concentrate on start-ups that have emerged from incubator cells at the institute level.

 On the launch, Dr. Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President, Technology & New Materials Business, Tata Steel, said: “At Tata Steel, we continue to develop innovative solutions and breakthrough technologies across the steel value chain, by leveraging our Research & Development strengths and collaborating with a broader community of scientists, researchers, start-ups and industrial organisations. Our MaterialNEXT platform incubates young minds in the advanced materials space to promote technology thought leadership. This has the potential to shape-up breakthrough products and processes in the emerging areas of advanced materials.”

 Tata Steel Advanced Materials Research Center (TSAMRC) oversees the Company’s ‘Technology Entrepreneurial’ initiative in the new and emerging materials domain and has been organising this initiative since 2019. Starting at IIT Madras campus, the programme has seen significant expansion to the pan-India level and outreach to leading academic institutes and research centers over the years. MaterialNEXT has played a crucial role in the technology portfolio expansion of TSAMRC.

 MaterialNEXT 4.0 will span five months in three phases: Selection (Idea Selection), Performance (Idea Development) and Finale (Idea Evaluation). Post registration by teams, the Selection Phase is a 2-stage process of an online screening followed by discussion-cum-evaluation stage, conducted by subject matter experts. The selected entries will progress to Performance Phase. Performance Phase ends with an evaluation (Pre-Finale) round. The selected entries from this phase qualify for the Finale Phase and will be called for the Grand Finale to decide winner and runner-up. The Grand Finale will be held on Technology Day, May 11, 2023.

 In addition to mentorship and incubation support from TSAMRC during the event’s idea development phase, internal and external subject matter experts will be participating in various phases of the event. Each track’s winning and runner-up teams would receive monetary awards as well as funding offers for the most promising concepts to be developed into long-term joint ventures.

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